Thursday 17 January 2019

Contador is set for Spanish joy

CYCLING: Alberto Contador won a battle of the heavyweights against Chris Froome but before they sparred at the finish, two other riders were disqualified on stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana for exchanging punches on the road.

Contador claimed his first stage win on the summit finish at La Farrapona to extend his overall lead, pulling away from Team Sky's Froome with one kilometre left and the rest of the field distanced.

Behind them the recriminations were still flying after Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo team-mate Ivan Rovny and Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Gianluca Brambilla had come to blows while part of the day's breakaway, leading to both riders being disqualified mid-stage by the commissaires.

The result sees Contador stretch his advantage in the general classification to one minute 36 seconds over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), with Froome just three seconds further back in third place.

A month ago, Contador was insisting he would not be fit to ride his home Grand Tour, but now he seems destined to win it.

Young impressive

CRICKET: Craig Young took five wickets on his One-Day international debut as Ireland crushed an out of sorts Scotland by seven wickets at Malahide in the first game of their three match series.

The Bready paceman claimed 5 for 46 as Scotland were dismissed for just 172 in 40.3 overs.

Ireland lost John Anderson early, trapped lbw by Iain Wardlaw, but Andrew Balbirnie's patient 38 saw him add partnerships of 39 with Andrew Poynter (16), and 43 with Kevin O'Brien as Ireland adopted a safety first approach.

O'Brien's unbeaten 56 (7 fours, 1 six) saw him pass the 2000 run milestone in ODI's, while Thompson impressed with some lovely fluent drives in his undefeated 35.

'Serena to match Graf'

TENNIS: Martina Navratilova has backed Serena Williams to go on and match Steffi Graf's Open era record of 22 grand slam singles titles.

Williams' 6-3 6-3 victory over Caroline Wozniacki in the US Open final took her level with Navratilova and Chris Evert on 18.

"If anyone can get there (she can). She's pretty young in tennis terms in that she hasn't played as many matches as I had at this stage of my life.

"She's pretty young and fresh, and if she stays motivated and healthy, the sky's the limit," said Navratilova.

Williams 33 later this month and only Navratilova has won a women's slam singles title at an older age in the Open era.

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